Tetiana Perga, National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Kyiv "Battle for rags in the early Soviet Union: case study of Ukraine"

Helsinki Environmental Humanities Forum, 8 March 2022, TUESDAY 14.00-15.30 (Helsinki time, Eastern European Time) via ZOOM

Register here for ZOOM link until 7 March. Link will be shared shortly before the event. 

Dr Perga, who works in the capital of Ukraine has decided to proceed with her report regardless of the Russian invasion. Come and join us to show your support!


Accumulation of rags in the form of unclaimed second-hand is becoming a serious problem for many countries. In the process of developing the consumer society, the problem will be exacerbated. It is therefore important y not only to promote sustainable consumption practices but also to explore and develop positive experiences of different countries in the collection and reuse of different wastes. In this context, a study of the experience of the Soviet Union is relevant. However, researchers focus attention only on the reuse of waste in the late USSR, there is a gap in the exploration of the early Soviet Union. At the moment, there are no in-depth studies on the collection and recycling of rags in the USSR.

Meanwhile, in the early Soviet Union, rags were considered valuable raw material and were used not only in the paper industry but also in the construction, chemical, glass, and haberdashery industries. The Soviet Union also exported rags, which increased the competition of rag collectors for this type of waste.

In the Ukrainian USSR, a real battle for rags unfolded, stimulated by its shortage. However, in the 1920s, Ukrainian enterprises and the population could not produce the required amount of rags, because the plans of the Soviet authorities to collect it constantly increased. How did the dilemma of rags collection in a society with limited access to material and food resources and a poor population solve?


Tetiana Perga has a PhD in History from the Kyiv State University named Taras Shevchenko, Kyiv, Ukraine. Since 1993, she has been working in the National Academy of Science of Ukraine: in 1993-2013 – in the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, from 2014 till now – in the Institute of World History. At the moment, she is the leading researcher. She is an author of 140 articles, co-author of 7 books, and author of 2 individual books that focused on different aspects of environmental history. She is a DAAD fellow in IOS Regensburg (June-July 2018), a Head of the Ukrainian Representative office of ESEH, member of Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem Research Group in Jewish European Environmental History, a Head of the Ukrainian representative office of ESEH.

She is also Head of the Editorial Board of “American History and Politics. Academic Journal” (Ukraine), a member of the Editorial Board of “European Historic Studies: Academic Journal” (Ukraine), member of the Editorial Board of “Foreign Affairs. Academic Journal” (Ukraine); and expert of Ministry of education and science of Ukraine.

With a background in history, Tetiana Perga is interested in the history of environmental policy, particularly in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as the current state of affairs.